Eating the Moon in Cotulla, TX
A trip to Laredo is like breaking open the sky.
Each long row of wheat meets the eye
before it sloughs into desert, where the occasional hawk,
in a few concentric turns, identifies a weak movement.
I know this place. The place in between.
I have seen limbs of prickly pear hovering in the still, hot air,
clustered and distorted like a reef in reverse.
I have seen the hay bales lead me to ranch houses
with tin foil winks on every window
and a museum of appliances on every porch,
sliding from one world to another,
where there are trucks without wheels,
willows without spirits, and mesquites with nothing to lose.
I have seen the sun own the land. I have seen it bake
into our hands. And I have seen it sleep in a dark coverlet
while the sky opens loose, and the coyotes, in their constellation,
propose a trick. A star crosses with intelligence.
A rabbit becomes an antique. At the gas station in Cotulla,
I eat the moon in the form of a pie. A real U.F.O. in cellophane,
a chemically unctuous sweet. Each bite, with the physics of an asteroid,
crumbles onto the asphalt where purpling black spheres of gum
have each staked a claim on the cosmos. There is no claim
that cannot be shifted. There is no orbit that cannot be redone.
I have a stepfather who I call a father, who believes other life forms
are out there, far beyond our boastful sun. And I have seen
this moon pie has no bloodline. I have seen it orbit from
one home to another, a pre-made kindness at a pit stop
where something in the brush is changing up its cry.
Copyright © 2023 by Analicia Sotelo. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 20, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.